The U.K. Internet economy contributed $159 billion (£100 billion) in 2009, representing 7.2 percent of U.K. GDP- more than construction, transport, or utilities, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
The report indicates this share is likely to grow about 10 percent annually, reaching 10 percent of GDP by 2015.
Around 60 percent of this total is driven by “consumption”—the amount that Internet users spend on online shopping and on the cost of their connections and devices to access the Internet. The rest comes from investment in the United Kingdom’s Internet infrastructure, government IT spending, and net exports.
More than 19 million households have an Internet connection—a 73 percent share—and broadband penetration has more than doubled since 2005. U.K. users spent the equivalent of an entire 24-hour day on the Internet in April, an increase of 65 percent in just three years. Nearly one-third of Internet users, or 31 percent, have accessed the Internet on their mobile handset, up from 23 percent in 2009. That share rises to 44 percent among users aged 16 to 24.
The number of people who bought goods or services online in the past year totaled 31 million, or 62 percent of the U.K. Population. In total, they spent $79 billion (£50 billion) last year on goods and travel.
The report also found that the U.K. Internet economy employs and estimated 250,000 people and has an annual revenue of $79 billion (£50 billion).
“The Internet is pervasive in the U.K. economy today, more so than in most advanced countries,” said Paul Zwillenberg, partner with BCG in London.
“Whether they are driving international expansion, improving their interactions with customers or the efficiency of their supply chains, U.K. companies are increasingly embracing the Internet’s potential. Several industries—including media, travel, insurance, and fashion—are being transformed by it.”
The report was commissioned by Google UK but was researched and written independently by BCG.